The notorious “QAnon Shaman” has insisted his actions during the Capitol riot were not an attack on the United States—and that he can prove it because he stopped other rioters from stealing muffins.
Jacob Chansley, who became arguably the most infamous Capitol rioter due to his furry and be-horned costume, has given a bizarre interview to CBS News in his latest attempt to beg for mercy. The first glimpse of the 60 Minutes interview was broadcast Thursday morning.
Speaking from jail, Chansley became clearly short-tempered when CBS News reporter Laurie Segall asked him if he considered his actions during the storming of the Capitol to be an attack on the nation.
When he was then asked to describe his actions in his own words, he explained: “I sang a song, and that’s a part of shamanism, it’s about creating positive vibrations in a sacred chamber. I also stopped people from stealing and vandalizing that sacred space, the Senate. I actually stopped people from stealing muffins out of the break room.”
While preventing muffin theft is all well and good, the accusations against Chansley are very serious. On top of storming into the Capitol building, Chansley is also accused of leaving an ominous note for Vice President Mike Pence at his desk in the Senate chamber that read: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.” That day, he was also carrying a spear attached to a flagpole, which prosecutors considered to be a weapon.
Chansley is facing as many as 20 years in prison, but can’t seem to see what he did wrong. In the interview, he went on: “I also said a prayer in that sacred chamber because it was my intention to bring divinity and to bring God back into the Senate.” When reminded that it was illegal for him to even enter the chamber, he described that as a “very serious regret.”
His mother, Martha Chansley, also insisted he did nothing wrong, telling Segall that her son simply “walked through open doors.”
“He was escorted into the Senate. So, I don’t know what’s wrong with that,” she said. “I know that he is sorry but again it all comes back to he walked through open doors.”
Prosecutors haven’t said how Chansley got into the building but there’s no evidence that police guided rioters into the Senate chamber.
She justified her son’s decision to protest the election result by repeating the lie that the election was stolen. “I don’t think it’s right that [the election] was won fraudulently. I don’t believe it was won fairly at all,” she said.
On former President Donald Trump, whom Chansley has repeatedly criticized via his attorney because he was not offered a pardon before Trump left office, it appears he still holds a soft spot for him.
“I developed a lot of sympathy for Donald Trump because it seemed like the media was picking on him,” said Chansley. “I have been a victim of that all my life, whether it be at school or at home, so in many ways, I identified with a lot of the negative things he was going through.”
Chansley went on to admit that he was “wounded” by not being offered a pardon but does not regret his loyalty to Trump. “I [only] regret entering that building, with every fiber of my being,” he said.
While Chansley’s strange jailhouse appearance on national television might be viewed as detrimental to his legal battle, his defense attorney believes it was totally logical and justified. “[Chansley] is the most visible face of this riot. So for the first time in my career, it is not a trepidation to have my client speak out—it’s fully abated,” defense attorney Albert Watkins told The Daily Beast on Thursday.
“If anything, it’s necessary to shift the message and dialogue that I have been pushing for since Jacob Chansley has been taken into custody: The riots were more than a lynch mob, but the result of years of manipulation [from Trump].”
“He believed the president. He believed the words and reacted on those words. So when you have millions of Americans who were embracing over four years of propaganda and lies and misrepresentations daily—we have to have compassion for that. We have to have patience,” Watkins added.
The lawyer added that the more people get exposed to his client, they’ll realize the “gentleman that he is” and remember that the thousands who stormed the Capitol “are our brothers and sisters and neighbors.”
CBS reporter Segall said Chansley ended his interview by shouting “SEE ME! SEE ME!” and insisting that he’s not a violent man. A judge will hear arguments Friday on whether he should be released before his trial.